Sharing the Plunder
As the Philistines began to invade Israel, King Achish asked David to march into battle with him. “I want you and your men to be my personal bodyguards,” he announced. David was pleased. “Good,” he replied. “Now you will be able to see for yourself what my men and I can do!” When all the military units gathered together, the Philistine commanders were shocked to see David and his men with their king. “These Hebrews can’t fight for us!” they exclaimed. Achish replied, “David defected from Saul’s army over a year ago and has been with me ever since. I have no reason to doubt his loyalty.” But the commanders were adamant. “Send him back home! He is probably trying to regain Saul’s favor by infiltrating our ranks. Then he will destroy us! ” King Achish didn’t want to send David home, but he didn’t want a military coup either. He explained this to David. David wasn’t very happy with the king’s decision, but the next morning he and his men headed back to Ziklag. When they reached their city, they found that Amalekite raiders had destroyed it. They had burned the city down and taken the Israelites’ wives and children captive. David and his men cried until they had no tears left. Some of the men talked about stoning David, since his leadership had failed them. But David found strength in God. He called for the priest. Together they prayed and asked God if they should chase after the raiders. “Yes,” God replied. “If you do, you will catch up to them and get everything back that they have taken from you.” So David and his 600 men went after the Amalekites. At one point, 200 of his men were too exhausted to keep going. David told them to stay with the supplies while he and the other men continued the chase. Those who continued came across one of the Amalekite slaves lying in a field. He had become very sick and been left behind to die. David and his men took great care of him, and the slave agreed to lead them to the Amalekite camp. When David’s men found them, the Amalekites were celebrating their victories. They were eating and drinking and enjoying the plunder they had stolen from all of the Philistine and Israelite cities they had raided. Without warning, David’s men attacked them. They fought for a whole day, killing most of the Amalekites. Only a few escaped on camels. David and his men retrieved everything, including all their wives and children. In addition, they took all the goods the raiders had plundered from the other cities. When they returned to the 200 men who were guarding the supplies, some of the ones who had fought did not want to share their new wealth. “They should only get their wives and children back,” they insisted, “since they didn’t fight with us.” But David disagreed. “No!” he said. “God is the One who gave us a great victory today. We will share equally with those who stayed with the supplies.” There was so much, he even sent some of the plunder to cities in Israel that had previously been good to him.
Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Like things couldn’t get any worse? That’s how David must have felt when he returned to Ziklag. He was a fugitive, his home had burned down, his family had been kidnapped, and now his own men wanted to stone him. For the first time in a long time, David turned to God, and God gave him strength! God will do that for you, too, when you turn to Him!